Flu and RSV cases increasing in Kentucky, but Covid-19 cases are still by far the leader in lab tests and emergency-room visits

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

The state Department for Public Health‘s weekly Respiratory Virus Update, released Thursday, Oct. 26 showed that Covid-19 activity was moderate, and influenza and respiratory syncytial virus activity was low but increasing, and hospitalizations for all three infectious respiratory diseases remained low.

The state’s Respiratory Viruses website shows that in the week ended Oct. 15, emergency-department visits associated with respiratory diseases continued to inch up, with 1,666 visits reported. This was up by 102 visits, or 6.5 percent, from the prior week, when 1,564 ED visits were reported.

In that same reporting week, ED visits increased the most for RSV patients, to 176 from 131 the prior week. Flu increased to 716 visits, up from 672; and Covid-19 visits increased to 774, up from 761.

In the same week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky reported 1,204 laboratory-confirmed tests for Covid-19, down from 1,281 the prior week; and 109 positive laboratory tests for the flu, up from 96 the prior week.

Health officials say the best ways to protect yourself and others from these viruses are to stay up to date with your vaccines, stay home if you are sick, keep your hands washed, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and then throw the tissue in the trash, and if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands. In addition, they ask people who are at high risk for serious illness to consider wearing a mask.

Hospital admissions associated with respiratory diseases have steadily decreased in Kentucky during the past four weeks and were down to 235 in the week ended Oct. 15, from 244 the week prior.

The biggest drop in hospital admissions was among Covid-19 patients, which numbered 170 in the week of Oct. 15, down from 184 the week prior.

The CDC, with information through Oct. 21, shows Pike County with a hospital-admission rate of 24.7 per 100,000 people. That is in CDC’s high level, for counties with 20 or more hospital admissions per 100,000. Adjoining Logan County, West Virginia, had a similar rate.

Five Kentucky counties had medium hospital-admission levels for Covid-19 in the last week, meaning they had between 10 and 19.9 hospital admissions per 100,000 people. Those counties include Bracken, Fleming and Mason, each with 15 admissions per 100,000; and Henderson and Union, each with 13.4.

Hospital admissions stayed about the same for flu patients (41) and RSV patients (24) compared to the prior week.

Deaths: In the week ended Oct. 1, Kentucky reported eight deaths associated with Covid-19 and in the week ended Oct. 8, the state reported one death associated with Covid-19 and one flu-associated death. All of the dead were adults.

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